Marketing Lessons From Container Gardening

[Excuse any strange typing errors; this is a direct transcription for your benefit.] 

Today we’re talking metaphors and stories. I’m using a recent garden project as my example of a metaphor and story that works incredibly well.  

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When potential new clients come and have a conversation with us, they want to know how to get marketing consistently working for them to attract leads, both candidates and clients. 

They don’t generally know how to market, and they need clarity and direction.  

As part of our process of giving value in advance, we share the frameworks that we use with our clients in our latest video series. 

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Using Metaphors and Stories 

We recently ran a virtual event for our Superfast Circle members. In this particular event, one of our themes was “Tuning up the Marketing Engine”, where we focused on storytelling. 

As human beings, we are wired for stories. It helps people get meaning and understanding from the concepts. As you listen to this particular story that I’m about to share with you, think about how you could use metaphor and story with your clients and candidates to support them.  

My example of a metaphor and a story is container gardening. Gardening is not one of my strong suits, but I love sitting surrounded by flowers and different colours in the summer. 

It is May and the season for flowers in the UK. We have very little grass at our new house, but we have a sandstone terrace in a terracotta colour. A girl can only look at so much terracotta!! 

Decide What Works for Your Organisation 

We decided to look at what sort of flowers and containers and hanging baskets we should have, and here is lesson one: decide what will work for you and your organisation at a strategic level when it comes to marketing. I’m using gardening here as an example because it would be criminal to rip up all the sandstone slabs to lay a lawn. Much better to assess where you are and what you have and start with that. That was the decision around having containers. We’ve got containers, pots, hanging baskets, etc., which will achieve the objective of having some colour, something to look at. 

When we think about deciding what you want to happen and what will work best for you, this is at the overarching strategic level. Thinking about your recruitment organisation, are you recruiting temps? Is it mainly perm? Are you having a particular struggle in one subsector? Think about that when you are doing your planning.  

Review and Audit What Works 

It is always good to look at what is working and what is not working from an audit perspective. Last year, we had hanging baskets. I’m sure many of you can relate, you move to a new house, and it’s all about the internal focus of the house rather than the external. Last year, we put out our containers, and we had a couple of hanging baskets and filled them with flowers. Some worked, and some didn’t work because we weren’t quite aware of what the weather would be like when you live by the side of a river. 

Now we have reviewed and audited. What did work? The flowers we liked, the flowers we didn’t like and what we might consider doing next. When it comes to number two for you, and remember I’m using this as a metaphor, is that it is important to review what worked last time.” 

If you haven’t downloaded our audit checklist, I strongly recommend doing that. It’ll give you some sense of where you’re at and how you’re performing. Go to and download it from there. It’s important to audit where you are versus where you want to be. 

Going back to the lovely containers, we decided we needed more containers, and we needed to arrange them differently. This then relates back to our branding podcast that went out last week. 

Do Your Research and Then Get Into Detail 

Then we decided to learn about container gardening because we know nothing about it. Who knew that you were meant to have the bigger plant in the middle?  

Who knew…..! I didn’t until I started searching around. I visited a couple of websites and then gave my name and email to access a video series on container gardening. 

How does this relate to candidates and clients doing their research about you? 

When it comes to our brand, we send people to our website and podcast to find out about marketing.   

Then we offer them more information in our Facebook Recruitment Marketing Mastery Group you can request to join here. Click the link, and Sharon and I will let you in. Here we do a deeper dive, and you can watch more content. 

Our process is to add value and share a lot of marketing information, so whether you work with us or not, you can move forward. Then we make offers to have a demonstration of Superfast Circle. 

We take people through the buyer’s cycle so they get to know, like and trust us so that when we make an offer of a demonstration of Superfast Circle, we know people understand the offer we are making. 

A question for you? What is your process for engaging clients and candidates? 

 Have you got content on your website that will help people decide whether they work with you or not because people do need some information? 

Research Resources and Supplies 

We then started to drill down into the details. What plants do we need? What colours do we need to get a contrast with the sandstone? What types of plants do we want to put into these hanging baskets and pots, so we have some colour throughout the year? 

Then I started to research suppliers. We knew what we wanted, so I Googled different garden centres and nurseries and found one that had a fantastic range. Thinking about branding, I noticed people commented on social media that it was a family-run business, which I love.

The social proof and reviews swung it for me. Hot tip – reviews and case studies are key in today’s marketplace. Do you have this type of marketing collateral on your website? If you are wondering where to get started, we recorded several podcasts on this subject here. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed our little metaphor/storytelling around container gardening. One of the things I often do as a marketer is to look for stories and messages in life. I look for ideas to share content with people that makes the explanation of what I’m talking about really logical. 


How We Can Help  

We have many clients who experience an R.O.I. within 30 days of joining our Superfast Circle; if you want to find out how, book your call and demonstration here. 



P.S. If you want to join Superfast Circle and would like to find out more, speak to us here. 

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